1963 Atlantic hurricane season
|Season summary map|
|First storm formed||July 31, 1963|
|Last storm dissipated||October 29, 1963|
|Strongest storm||Flora – 940 mbar (hPa) (27.77 inHg), 145 mph (230 km/h) (1-minute sustained)|
|Major hurricanes (Cat. 3+)||2|
|Total damage||$588.8 million (1963 USD)|
|Atlantic hurricane seasons
1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965
The 1963 Atlantic hurricane season was a below average Atlantic hurricane season, with nine named storms. Although the season officially began on June 1, the first storm did not form until nearly a month later. Hurricane Cindy made landfall in Texas before dissipating in the southern portion of the state. In late September, Hurricane Edith moved through the Windward Islands and Greater Antilles before dissipating east of the Bahamas, causing ten fatalities, and leaving roughly $47 million (1963 USD) in damage in the Caribbean. Following Edith was Hurricane Flora, a powerful hurricane that struck Haiti and Eastern Cuba in early October. Throughout its lifetime, Flora killed over 7,000 people, making the system the fifth or sixth deadliest Atlantic hurricane of all time. The final hurricane of the season, Ginny, was a tropical cyclone that affected parts of North Carolina in the middle of October. Three people were killed as a result of the storm, and damage totals reached $500,000.
The 1963 season as a whole was very destructive, with at least 7,225 fatalities, and $588.8 million in damage. However, not all storms affected land areas. Hurricane Beulah in late August formed east of the Lesser Antilles and moved north, several hundred miles to the east of Bermuda. In addition, Tropical Storm Three in the middle of September formed between the United States East Coast and Bermuda before dissipating well northeast of Newfoundland.
Hurricane Arlene 
|Category 2 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||July 31 – August 10|
|Peak intensity||105 mph (165 km/h) (1-min) 969 mbar (hPa)|
A cloud mass in the central Atlantic became a tropical depression on July 31. It headed to the west, becoming a tropical storm on August 2. Arlene rapidly intensified that day to become a 100 mph (155 km/h) Category 2 hurricane, but lack of outflow weakened Arlene to a tropical depression on August 4. For the next three days, a disturbed area of low pressure that may have had a circulation moved to the northwest. On August 8, while turning northeastward, conditions favored development again, and Arlene rapidly intensified to a hurricane that night. Arlene passed over Bermuda on August 9, and, after reaching its peak of 100 mph (155 km/h) again that night, steadily weakened until it became extratropical on August 11. Arlene caused $300,000 (1963 USD, $2.25 million 2013 USD) in property damage in Bermuda, but no lives were lost.
Hurricane Beulah 
|Category 3 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||August 20 – August 28|
|Peak intensity||120 mph (195 km/h) (1-min) 958 mbar (hPa)|
The precursor to Hurricane Beulah was a tropical wave moving across the tropical Atlantic. It was organized enough to be called a tropical depression on August 20, and it strengthened to tropical storm force the next day. Beulah moved northwestward, becoming a hurricane on August 22 and a major hurricane on August 24. The hurricane turned to the north, where the anticyclone that was favoring development to its south caused unfavorable conditions. Beulah weakened to a minimal hurricane, and raced to the northeast, maintaining hurricane strength until it became extratropical on August 28, 250 mi (402.33 km) east of Newfoundland.
Tropical Storm Three 
|Tropical storm (SSHS)|
|Duration||September 10 – September 14|
|Peak intensity||60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min) 992 mbar (hPa)|
A weak circulation north of Puerto Rico moved northeastward, becoming a tropical depression on September 10. It was subtropical in nature, developing with the instability of cool and warm air, and became a tropical storm on September 11. This small storm reached its peak of 60 mph (95 km/h) on September 12, but a cold front to its west caused it to gradually lose tropical characteristics. The storm became extratropical on September 14, and was absorbed by the cold front on September 15.
Hurricane Cindy 
|Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||September 16 – September 20|
|Peak intensity||80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min) 996 mbar (hPa)|
A trough of low pressure over the Gulf of Mexico rapidly developed into a tropical storm on September 16. Cindy reached hurricane strength the next day, but did not strengthen further prior to its landfall on High Island, Texas. Cindy brought heavy rain to southeast Texas as it drifted southwestward over the state. The hurricane dissipated on September 20, after causing $12.5 million (1963 USD, $4.5 million 2013 USD) in damage and three deaths.
Hurricane Debra 
|Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||September 19 – September 24|
|Peak intensity||75 mph (120 km/h) (1-min) 999 mbar (hPa)|
On September 19, a westward moving tropical wave became a tropical depression in the central tropical Atlantic. It became a tropical storm on September 21, and spared the islands as it turned northward. Debra became a hurricane on September 21, but as it moved northward, it was gradually absorbed by a large extratropical storm. Debra dissipated on September 24.
Hurricane Edith 
|Category 2 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||September 23 – September 29|
|Peak intensity||100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min) 990 mbar (hPa)|
The Intertropical Convergence Zone developed a tropical depression on September 23, east of the southern Lesser Antilles. It moved west-northwestward, quickly intensifying to a hurricane on September 24. It crossed through the Windward Islands on September 25 as a 95 mph (145 km/h) hurricane, but upper level winds weakened it to a minimal hurricane prior to its Dominican Republic landfall on September 27. The island ripped apart the circulation, and Edith dissipated on September 29. Edith killed ten in Martinique, injured 50 across the Caribbean, and caused $47 million (1963 USD, $352 million 2013 USD) in damage. It was a prelude to Hurricane Flora just days later.
Hurricane Flora 
|Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||September 26 – October 12|
|Peak intensity||145 mph (230 km/h) (1-min) 940 mbar (hPa)|
Hurricane Flora originated from a tropical depression which formed on September 26 in the Central Atlantic. The depression moved rapidly west-northwestward, and on September 29 it reached tropical storm status. It then rapidly intensified into a 120 mph (195 km/h) Category 3 hurricane by September 30. Flora moved through the Leeward Islands, first striking the island of Tobago, and passing near Grenada shortly afterwards. Flora then crossed the Caribbean Sea and strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, peaking at 140 mph (220 km/h) winds.
Flora struck the southwest peninsula of Haiti on October 4 as a 140 mph (220 km/h) hurricane, causing heavy rains. Flora then hit southeast Cuba near Guantanamo Bay on the same day, but a high pressure system to its north and west caused it to drift over Cuba and nearby waters. During this time, intense driving rains caused catastrophic flooding, resulting in thousands of deaths and millions in crop damage. A shortwave trough finally pulled Flora to the northeast, bringing the hurricane into the Atlantic Ocean on October 8. Flora strengthened over the open Atlantic, but posed a threat only to shipping, and became extratropical on October 12.
Hurricane Flora was the fifth or sixth deadliest Atlantic hurricane of all time, causing over 7,000 deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, mostly due to flooding from intense rains as it stalled over Cuba and the surrounding areas. Damage estimates (mostly crop losses) reached over $500 million (1963 USD, $3.75 billion 2013 USD).
Hurricane Ginny 
|Category 2 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||October 16 – October 29|
|Peak intensity||110 mph (175 km/h) (1-min) 958 mbar (hPa)|
On October 16, a tropical depression formed near the Turks and Caicos from the interaction of a trough and a tropical wave, although the system was not very tropical due to cold air. It moved to the north and northwest, becoming Tropical Storm Ginny on October 19. The next day it attained hurricane status, and it approached North Carolina before looping to the southwest due to a ridge over New England. By October 22, Ginny had become fully tropical after moving over the Gulf Stream, developing an eye. It briefly weakened to a tropical storm the next day while approaching Florida but regained hurricane intensity within ten hours. Ahead of an advancing trough, Ginny turned sharply to the north and later northeast, paralleling the coast of the southeastern United States. For eight days, the storm was within 250 mi (400 km) of the United States coastline. Moving farther offshore, Ginny gradually intensified to reach peak winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) on October 29. Later that day it became extratropical before striking southwestern Nova Scotia, and Ginny's remnants dissipated on October 30 in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
Early in its track, Ginny dropped heavy rainfall in the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. In Florida and Georgia, Ginny produced above normal tides that caused minor damage and beach erosion. Rainfall was beneficial in South Carolina, and in North Carolina, high tides caused minor flooding and destroyed one house. Wind gusts reached 76 mph (122 km/h) in Nantucket, causing power outages that left about 1,000 homes in Chatham, Massachusetts without power. Many boats were damaged or ripped from their moorings in Maine, and one person died from a heart attack while trying to rescue his boat. Ginny was the latest hurricane on record to affect Maine, and during its passage, the storm brought an influx of cold air that produced up to 4 ft (1.2 m) of snow in northern Maine, killing two people. Damage from Ginny in the United States was estimated at $400,000. In Canada, high winds downed trees and caused power outages, living the entirety of Prince Edward Island without power.
Tropical Storm Helena 
|Tropical storm (SSHS)|
|Duration||October 25 – October 29|
|Peak intensity||50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min) 1001 mbar (hPa)|
A tropical wave accompanied by a large area of convection moved westward in late October. On October 25, the wave spawned a tropical depression, based on ship and Hurricane Hunter reports of southwest winds and heavy rainfall. Although it was not well-defined, the system intensified gradually and became Tropical Storm Helena. On October 26, the storm reached peak winds of 50 mph (85 km/h), before quickly weakening when it passed between Dominica and Guadeloupe, potentially due to their high terrain. Helena was a weak tropical depression upon entering the eastern Caribbean Sea, but it re-intensified into a tropical storm after turning to the north on October 27. Its slow, erratic movement and failure to intensify was due to a weak trough across the region. While passing near Antigua, the storm developed an intense rainband that produced winds of 58 mph (93 km/h), as measured by aircraft between Dominica and Guadeloupe. However, Helena again weakened into a tropical depression on October 29 and dissipated shortly thereafter.
The threat of Helena prompted the San Juan Weather Bureau to issue a hurricane watch and later gale warnings for portions of the Lesser Antilles. While passing through the Lesser Antilles, Helena heavily damaged or sank several boats on Guadeloupe. On the island, the storm left 500 people homeless, killed five people, and seriously injured fourteen others. Damage was estimated at $500,000.
Storm names 
The following names were used for named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) that formed in the North Atlantic in 1963. Storms were named Ginny and Helena for the first time in 1963. Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.
The name Flora was later retired.
See also 
- 1963 Pacific hurricane season
- 1963 Pacific typhoon season
- 1963 North Indian Ocean cyclone season
- List of Atlantic hurricanes
- List of Atlantic hurricane seasons
- Gordon E. Dunn (March 1964). "The Hurricane Season of 1963" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review (U.S. Weather Bureau) 92 (3). Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- Lewis J. Allison; Harold P. Thompson (June 1966). TIROS VII Infrared Radiation Coverage of the 1963 Atlantic Hurricane Season With Supporting Television and Conventional Meteorological Data (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division; Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (February 15, 2013). "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
- P.L. Moore (1963-10-28). "Ginny Advisory Number 31" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- Roth, David M; Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (November 16, 2012). "Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Point Maxima". Tropical Cyclone Point Maxima. United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- Nathan Kronberg, Columbia, S.C. Weather Bureau Air Station (1963-10-30). "Preliminary Report on Hurricane Ginny in South Carolina" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- Wilmington, N.C. Weather Bureau Office (1963-10-28). "Preliminary Report on Hurricane Ginny October 19 to 27 1963". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- Robert E. Lautzenhaiser, Boston Massachusetts Weather Bureau State Climatologist (1963-11-18). "Tropical Cyclone Reports — Hurricane Ginny" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- Wayne Cotterly (1996). "Hurricanes and Tropical Storms; Their Impact on Maine and Androscoggin County" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- Canadian Hurricane Centre (2010-09-14). "1963-Ginny". Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- Harry M. Hoose (1963-11-01) (GIF). Tropical Storm Helena, October 25-29, 1963 (Report). San Juan Weather Bureau. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1963/helena/preloc/sju1101b.gif. Retrieved 2013-04-24.